By DIEGO LOZANO III
The Pima Community College track and field teams set five nationals-qualifying marks at the University of Arizona’s Willie Williams Classic at Drachman Stadium on March 15-16.
Freshman Nikki Regalado placed seventh and qualified for nationals in the 5,000-meter run, finishing in 18 minutes, 29 seconds. The 4×400 relay team of sophomores Shelby Slocum and Adrianna Thomas and freshmen Makaela Pratt and Kathy Fisher also set a qualifying mark, coming in sixth with a time of 4:03.05.
On the men’s side, sophomore Labriel Leach qualified in the 400 hurdles with a time of 53.67, good enough for third.
Sophomore Luis Gonzalez met the standard in the 1,500, placing sixth in 4:02.05, while freshman Alejandro Valencia also qualified in the 5,000, coming in ninth with a time of 15:19.
The squads began the outdoor portion of their seasons at West Campus on March 9.
On the women’s side, freshman Becca Harris placed first in the pole vault, going 8-6 1/4. She also took top honors in the triple jump, leaping 35-5.
Freshman Sabrina Montano’s heave of 35-9 1/2 was good enough for second in the shot put.
For the men, freshman Carlos Rojel broke the tape in the 200-meter dash in 23.55 seconds.
Sophomore Aren Maxwell took second in the 1,500-meter with a time of 4:12.31, while freshman Joe Evans placed second in the 110-meter high hurdles in 15.65.
The squads tacked on five more school records at the NJCAA Indoor Championships at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, on March 1-2.
“We are excited right now,” head coach Greg Wenneborg said after the meet. “We always try to put the emphasis on the outdoor season.”
The men’s squad placed 16th in Lubbock, finishing three spots higher than last season, while the women’s team came in 20th.
The men’s distance medley relay lineup of sophomore Lance Ross, Valencia, Gonzalez and freshman Austin Stone eclipsed the school record with a time of 10 minutes, 16.91 seconds.
The quartet finished third overall in the event, and were awarded All-American honors for the impressive performance.
Valencia also topped the school record in the one-mile run with a time of 4:21:29, placing seventh.
Sophomore Aaron Orduno performed well in Lubbock, placing in the top 10 in two events.
Orduno placed seventh in the weight throw with a heave of 53-7 3/4, while his shot put mark of 51-6 1/2 earned him a ninth-place finish and added his name in the Aztec record books.
Freshman Eddie Wilcox impressed collegiate spectators earlier in the season with a 7-foot high jump on home turf. Wilcox placed fourth at nationals with a jump of 6-11.
Freshman long jumper Khalil Hakim finished 12th with a leap of 21-10, while sophomore Jarell Betton took 14th in the heptathlon, totaling 4,112 points.
Stone turned in a 2:34.53 time in the 1,000-meter, failing to qualify for the finals. Ross clocked a 53.06 in the 400-meter, also missing out on the finals.
On the women’s side, the distance medley relay team of sophomores Aly Haskell, Lucia Hernandez, Slocum and Regalado shattered the previous school record with a time of 12:55:85, placing seventh in the event.
Haskell furthered her performance by surpassing her own school record in the 600-meter dash, finishing third overall with a final time of 1:34:74.
Regalado crossed the finish line in eighth position in the 3,000-meter, covering the distance in 10:54.87.
Sophomore Kami Humphrey placed ninth in the pentathlon with 2,847 points, while freshman Marlee Sherwood got 14th in the triple jump with a leap of 35-2 1/2.
The Aztecs will compete at the first conference outdoor meet in Coolidge on March 23. Competition begins at 10 a.m.